Louisiana plumbers closer to expanding territory as bill advances

Legislation would offer restricted plumbers full statewide licensure

By: - May 4, 2022 5:42 pm
Louisiana plumbers closer to expanding territory as bill advances

Louisiana lawmakers advanced a proposal Tuesday that would give full statewide licensure to plumbers currently restricted to working in a certain parish or local jurisdiction. (WES MULLER/LOUISIANA ILLUMINATOR)

The Louisiana House of Representatives advanced a proposal Wednesday that would give full licensure to plumbers currently restricted to working in local jurisdictions. 

House Bill 300, sponsored by Rep. Phillip Devillier, R-Eunice, passed the House unanimously and will next head to the Senate for consideration. It would eliminate a licensing roadblock within state law that restricts certain plumbers from working outside of a limited geographical area. 

DeVillier said the bill would allow plumbers who have worked under a restricted license prior to Jan. 1, 2023, to obtain either the state journeyman’s license or master plumber’s license upon written request to the State Plumbing Board of Louisiana. 

Proposal could unclog shortage of Louisiana plumbers

After the state enacted its master plumber licensing laws in 1990, plumbers who were licensed by local jurisdictions and chose not to obtain the new state license could continue working so long as they did not work outside of their local jurisdiction. 

DeVillier said Louisiana has made it “extremely difficult” for plumbers to become licensed. He said his bill could provide some relief to the labor shortage though he expects it will impact only a small percentage of plumbers in the state. 

To obtain a plumber’s license, one must first become an apprentice, work under a master plumber’s supervision for about five years and pass multiple state exams.

A journeyman plumber must have at least five years or 8,000 hours of experience as a licensed apprentice, can perform installations while working for a master plumber and can supervise an apprentice. A master plumber must be a licensed journeyman or professional engineer who can perform all areas of plumbing work, own a plumbing business and employ apprentices and journeyman plumbers.

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Much of his journalism has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and coverage of municipal and state government. He has received recognitions including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus and a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his two sons and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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